Epic of Beowulf Essay - Beowulf as the Ideal Anglo-Saxon


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Beowulf as the Ideal Anglo-Saxon

 

 

Beowulf is a hero who embodies the ideal characteristics in the Anglo-Saxon culture; these characteristics all come together to make up an epic tale.  He possesses the virtues, traits and beliefs that were respected in the Anglo-Saxon culture.  Beowulf displays these virtues in his own actions and words during different circumstances throughout the tale.  

 

    Beowulf was "the strongest of the Geats" and also "greater and stronger than anyone anywhere in this world".  Beowulf is shown to be the strongest among the strong.  Physical strength was very much envied by the Anglo-Saxon culture.  Beowulf could slay the greatest monster of all, Grendell.  Beowulf killed Grendell; Grendell had never come to such a match among a stronger person "That shepherd of evil, guardian of crime knew at once that nowhere on earth had he met a man whose hands were harder".  This shows the physical strength that Beowulf embodied.



    Beowulf was fearless of all opponents and fought to defend his fame and glory.  Beowulf did not need to tell anyone that he was fearless; he showed them how fearless he was.  Beowulf needed no sword or shield to protect him from Grendell when he killed Grendell with his own hands "My lord Higlac might think less of me if I let my sword go where my feet were afraid to, if I hid behind some broad linden shield: my hands alone shall fight for me, struggle for life against the monster".  Beowulf jumped in the water to fight Grendell's mourning mother, he did not know where he was going yet, he went for glory and fame showing no fear.  

 

    Beowulf displayed that he was very resourceful, as well as, the other traits listed.  He shows how intelligent he can be when he was fighting Grendells mother and he became weary and became stumbling.  In the midst of a battle, Beowulf almost dies if it were not for his woven mail shirt he wore on his chest.  "Then he saw, hanging on the wall, a heavy sword, hammered by giants, strong and blessed with their magic, the best of all weapons", "lifted it high over his head and struck with all the strength he had left, caught her in the neck and cut it through, broke bones and all.

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"  Beowulf shows how he was resourceful and came back from almost losing the battle to winning it desperately with the heavy sword.



    Beowulf displays the characteristics of a wise leader who can take charge in any situation.  He rules Geatland for fifty years.  He wisely cares for his people and is willing to defend his land for his people.  He is willing to risk his own life for the safety of his own people to fight his last battle as an old man.  Yet, even as an old man knowing that he is not as physically strong as he was in his youth he is still fearless "I mean to stand, not run from his shooting flames, stand till fate decides".  Beowulf is fearless for his fame and for his people.  

 

    In conclusion, Beowulf is characterized as a fearless warrior with physical strength and a resourceful leader.  These characteristics were very much admired by the Anglo-Saxon culture.  He displays these virtues/characteristics throughout the epic tale of Beowulf.

 

 


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